The term ‘molecular imprints’ is now almost hijacked by the proponents of all diverse shades of unscientific ‘energy medicine’ and ‘spiritual’ theories about homeopathy. It makes distinguishing between scientific and unscientific approaches very hard.
The term ‘molecular imprinting’ and ‘molecular imprints’ originally comes from polymer chemistry, where these terms are used to describe a technique of creating template-shaped cavities in polymer matrices with memory of the template molecules, to be used as artificial molecular recognition sites.
This technique is based on the system used by enzymes for substrate recognition, which is called the “lock and key” model. The active binding site of an enzyme has a unique geometric structure that is particularly suitable for a substrate. A substrate that has a corresponding shape to the site is recognized by selectively binding to the enzyme, while an incorrectly shaped molecule that does not fit the binding site is not recognized.
In a similar way, molecularly imprinted materials are prepared using a template molecule and functional monomers that assemble around the template and subsequently get crosslinked to each other. The functional monomers, which are self-assembled around the template molecule by interaction between functional groups on both the template and monomers, are polymerized to form an imprinted matrix. They are known in the scientific community as a molecular imprinted polymer (MIP). Then the template molecule is removed from the matrix under certain conditions, leaving behind a cavity compl ementary in size and shape to the template. The obtained cavity can work as a selective binding site for a specific template molecule.
I have been using the concepts of ‘molecular imprinting’ and ‘molecular imprints’ to explain homeopathic potentization in this scientific perspective. My contention is that water has polymer-like properties at supramolecular level, and as such, water can be used as molecular imprinting medium exactly similar to other polymer substances. During potentization, three dimensional configuration of drug molecules are imprinted as nanocavities into the hydrogen-bonded supra-molecular networks of ethyl alcohol-water matrix. These ‘molecular imprints’ or ‘hydrosomes’ can act as ‘artificial binding sites’ for the drug molecules used for imprinting, as well as to pathogenic molecules having similar configurations. Active principles of potentized drugs are these ‘molecular imprints’.
This is the scientific understanding of ‘molecular imprinting’ and ‘molecular imprints’.
Now, the proponents of ‘energy medicine’ theories are trying to hijack this scientific concept to promote their pseudo-scientific theories. They talk about ‘molecular imprints’ of ‘drug energy’ and even ‘spiritual energy’. They talk about ‘molecular imprinting’ of ‘thoughts’ into water. According to them, ‘molecular imprints’ act by ‘emitting’ ‘radiations’, ‘waves’, ‘resonance’ and such things. They mix up ‘molecular imprinting’ with ‘water memory’ theories of people like Emotto, Chaplin and Rustum Roy. Their theories have nothing in common with the scientific concepts of ‘molecular imprinting’.
Anyhow, these people create a lot of confusions during our discussions about scientific homeopathy. To avoid confusions, now I prefer to use the term ‘hydrosomes’ instead of ‘molecular imprints’, to indicate ‘molecular imprinted nanocavities of water acting as artificial molecular binding sites’.
Modern biochemistry explains molecular mechanisms of disease and cure in terms of ‘key-lock’ relationship between ligands and their target molecules. This ‘key-lock’ concept has been proved right by the preparation and use of target specific designer drugs. Any scientific explanation we provide for molecular mechanism of homeopathic therapeutics involved in ‘similia similibus curentur’ should be fitting to this ‘key-lock’ concept of molecular interactions. My explanation of of homeopathy on the basis of ‘molecular imprints’ or ‘hydrosomes’ acting as ‘artificial binding sites for pathogenic molecules’ perfectly meets this fundamental condition.